The Vedas ordained, “Satyam vada, dharmam chara” – “Speak the Truth, walk on the path of Righteousness”. Later saints added something – “Speak Sweetly even while telling the truth.” That does not mean that one should water down the truth to please the audience. What is truth is truth, even if it be a bitter pill to swallow, and if the patient needs such one, the doctor should not hesitate to administer it.
Ever since the Independence of our nation from foreign yoke, the political leadership of Free India has been consistently fooling the people by telling them that we are ‘Secular’, even without understanding the meaning of the word. ‘Secular’ means ‘anti-religious’ or ‘irreligious’ and it does not mean tolerance of all religions or equal respect for all religions. The word arose out of the conflict between the State of the King and the Organised Church represented by the Pope in Europe whose Spiritual Authority was questioned by the King. Secular state was opposed to the authority of the Pope.
India that is Bharat is a spiritual nation. Hinduism or Sanatana Dharma is Indian Nationalism. “If Sanatana Dharma declines, the country also declines with it. If Sanatana Dharma could be erased out of existence, the Hindu race could be annihilated. Sanatana Dharma is nothing but Nationalism. This is the message I wish to convey to you” – This is the Divine Message that Sri Aurobindo received in Alipore Jail and later proclaimed in his famous Uttarpara Speech. He spoke the truth, for he did not want to build up an organization at the cost of truth.
Swami Vivekananda was also very emphatic in declaring that it is Hinduism alone that accepts all kinds of spiritual pursuits and religious paths as valid and leading to one and the same goal. He said, “Unity in variety is the plan of nature, and the Hindu has recognized it. Every other religion lays down certain fixed dogmas and tries to force society to adopt them.”
Mahatma Gandhi, the Father of the Nation, also spoke the truth when he said, “I must tell you in all humility that Hinduism, as I know it, entirely satisfies my soul, fills my whole being, and I find solace in the Bhagavad Gita and the Upanishads that I miss even in the Sermon on the Mount.”
And the greatest avatar of the modern age, Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, who is hailed as Sarvadharma swaroopine – embodiment of all religions – proclaims “The Hindu religion alone is the Sanatana Dharma. The various creeds you hear of nowadays have come into existence through the Will of god and will disappear again through His Will. They will not last forever. Therefore I say, ‘I bow down at the feet of even the modern devotees’. The Hindu religion has always existed and will always exist.”
Sri ramarksihan Paramahamsa, Swami Vivekananda, Sri Aurobindo and Mahatma Gandhi were certainly not Hindu fanatics or communalists, but they spoke of the truth for the whole world to listen. They did not divorce Hinduism to embrace Universalism as some of the later so called followers of these great men have done to preserve their organizations even at the cost of truth and the ideals proclaimed by these great preceptors.
In India, if any organization, whether political, social or spiritual, has to survive in the long run, that must be built on the strongest foundation of spiritual nationalism propounded by the most ancient sages of this land. No political unity will ever be possible unless all the States – swaraajyam, bhaujyam, paarameshtyam raajyam, whatever they be – are strung together by the common bond of Hinduism. Unless the whole nation stands up for five minutes everyday and sings Vande Mataram, the immortal song adoring Mother Bharat as the Goddess of all Gods, the Heaven of all Heavens, and proclaims in the voice of Swami Vivekananda, “India is the cradle of my infancy, the pleasure garden of my youth and the holy Varanasi of my old age”, and proudly declares that we are Hindus first and Tamils, Telugus, Punjabis, Kashmiris, Bengalis, Marathas, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Muslims and Christians next, national unity will ever remain a mirage. Political leaders will continue to fool us talking about Secularism, minority privileges, caste and community distinctions, backwardness and reservations, and take the maximum advantage of the divisions in the society to make their hay when the sun shines.
Whether it is the problem of Punjab or Kashmir, Mizoram or Kanyakumari, all have their origin in our self-forgetfulness that we are Hindus – the children of Mother Bharat. Most of the Muslims and Christians in this land have failed to realize the truth that they are not descendents of chengizkhans or Robert Clives who came from the distant lands, but of the great rishis of this Holy Bharat. Until and unless this truth is accepted by them, machine guns and AK 47 rifles will continue to boom in Kashmir and Mizoram. Even the Sikhs, who were moulded by Guru Govind Singh, Guru Teg Bahadur, and Guru Arjun Dev as the protective “Sword Arm” of the Hindu Nation and the race have forgotten their forefathers and raised their arms against the very nation to protect which those great martyrs shed their sacred blood.
Social and religious harmony is also impossible unless and until all social and religious groups in India accept the universal values of life propounded by the sages and seers of this land and make themselves part and parcel of the Sanatana Dharma that is Indian Nationalism. Allah and Jesus will not vanish from this land if Muslims and Christians in India give up their extra-territorial loyalties and love the land of their birth as greater than the heavens that their religions promise. Rather they will become one among the many gods worshipped in the Hindu pantheon. “They’ll all be taken into Hinduism in the end”, said Swami Vivekananda. He did not say that he will form a new universal religion named after his master to attract them all.
Spiritual leaders like Swami Vivekananda and political leaders like Mahatma Gandhi spoke the truth, for they did not have any vested interests. The present day political as well as spiritual leaders have unfortunately abandoned the values taught by these great masters. The lure of political power blinds the eyes of the present day politicians to such an extent that they are prepared to go to any extremes to create vote banks by dividing the society on caste, creed or community lines and grow fat by licking the blood that gushes out of the bodies of the warring factions who are set against each other by these very same politicians. Appeasement of castes and communities are perpetrated just to come to power. Thirst for power and the dire necessity to survive politically, make them descend to the level of traitors, corrupt administrators, and destroyers of the very nation.
If politics today is wholly corrupted, religion in India fares no better. The most unfortunate mishap today is that the so called spiritual and religious leaders in the country are more and more inclined to become pawns in the hands of the politicians and money-bags. There was a time when the spiritual authorities of this land from Sages Vasishta and Vishwamitra to Samarth Ramdas and Vidyaranya kept the mighty kings and emperors of this land under their spell and taught them what is Dharma and how to govern the country. But, today, the politicians purchase the sadhus and sannyasis for their refarious political games. Samarth Ramdas had warned of pseudo-sannyasins. Swami Vivekananda had also burst out in strong condemnation of the Brahmins who stood before the British masters with folded hands for favours and titles like ‘Sir’ and ‘Right Honourable’, and the sannyasins who cared only for their ashrams, mutts, and missions, and were unconcerned about the fate of the Hindu Nation and Hindu Race. Swami Rama Tirtha cried out in pain and agony that he felt ashamed to be in the Ochre robe because it was worn by pseudo-sannyasins who were more after their material interests and social status. Much more water has flowed down the Ganges since the days of Swami Vivekananda and Swami Rama Tirtha. Today, the tribe in the Ochre robe has become a laughing stock in this very nation of saints and sages. Even sooth-sayers, astrologers, quacks and miracle performers, all pose as Gurus and Maharajs and they are always surrounded by politicians, administrators, industrialists, businessmen, cinema artistes and people in various other walks of life, not out of spiritual hunger, but to find out an easy and miraculous way or good luck to increase their material, political, and other selfish interests. And these so called Mahatmas exploit the fools who flock around them to mint money for themselves, to build up palacial ashrams and big institutions including gun factories and international black money laundaries. How many sadhus and sannyasins dare today to come out and say that they don’t care a straw for power and pelf, political clout, or for posh ashrams and Contessas and jet flights, and they will stand for the protection of the Sanatan Dharma which is Indian Nationalism? How many are prepared to abandon all other gods and goddesses and worship Bharata Mata, the only Goddess to be worshipped now, to give up all vain rituals and religious gimmicks and sacrifice their all in the Yagna to install Mother Bharat once again as the Loka Guru?
Ochre is not merely the symbol of renunciation. It is the symbol of Hindu Nationalism. The flag that fluttered on the top of the chariots of Sri Rama and Sri Krishna, of the mighty kings and emperors of this land, the National Flag that Sister Nivedita, the illustrious disciple of Swami Vivekananda, gave to our Nation during the Struggle for Freedom, is the Ochre Flag, the Bhagava Dwaja. It is only those who hold the flag aloft deserve to wear the Ochre robe, which is the rightful uniform of the spiritual soldier of Mother Bharat.
Religion or spirituality must ever remain a movement. If it is reduced to an organization, ashram, mission, mosque or church, it deteriorates, putrefies and stinks. It becomes worse than poison. Sister Nivedita quoted Swami Vivekananda about his diffidence to religious organization in her work, The Master As I Saw Him – “’We believe’, he said, ‘that organization always breeds new evils.’” She says elsewhere in the work, “—‘I have become entangled’, he said simply, to one who protested that to his mind the wandering Sadhu of earlier years, who had scattered his knowledge and changed his name as he went, had been greater than the Abbot of Belur, burdened with much work and many cares, ‘I have become entangled’.” If a gaint of renunciation and spirituality should feel like this, what to speak of present day sannyasins who are suffocating themselves in the stinking mutts, missions and ashrams—a bondage worse than that of samsara! “What the world wants today is twenty men and women who can dare to stand in the street yonder and say that they possess nothing but God. Who will go?” asks Swami Vivekananda. Is there anyone to reply, “Yes, I will”?
Author: Professor Sadhu Rangarajan